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|QUENCH (standard:science fiction, 997 words)
|Author: Gavin J. Carr
|Added: Feb 04 2005
|Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
|They could do nothing against the invaders. They had appeared unexpectedly: a fleet of starships one hundred and fifty strong, souls as frigid and empty as the void from which they had come.
It was eerie. They watched as the shadow gradually slipped in front of the sun, stilling the soaring cries of seabirds. ‘So they‘re back,' said Richards. ‘Enrichson was right. He said they would.' Wilburg rubbed his eyes absently. He was surprised to discover that he was close to tears. He thought he had cried himself dry, that he could never feel anything again. But here he was, twelve months after the war had began, six months since he'd lost everyone he loved, and still the tears came. ‘Those bastards,' he said. ‘Those sick, monstrous bastards. Don't they ever stop?' ‘Not until we're all dead,' said Richards. He lifted his gun and slung it over his shoulder. ‘Let's get back to the bunker and see what we can salvage.' They picked their way over the cracked concrete that had once been the city's promenade. To the east – where the beach had been – there was now an expanse of black glass where the heat from the bombs had fused the sand. To the west were the remains of the city, the jagged stubs of tower blocks protruding like rotten teeth. Such power, thought Richards. If only we had a tenth of their power then we could at least put up a fight. But such thoughts were useless. They could do nothing against the invaders. They had appeared unexpectedly: a fleet of starships one hundred and fifty strong, souls as frigid and empty as the void from which they had come. They stooped as they entered the bunker and walked down the hallway towards the steel doors. ‘No guards again,' said Wilburg. ‘There really should be a guard on that door.' ‘I know,' replied Richards, ‘but we don't have the people anymore. Every available man is in the field.' Every available man. It was an understatement, thought Richards. There was every available woman too and even - and here he paused to swallow as though the thought left a bad taste - every available child. Only yesterday he had issued guns and explosives to a group of volunteers. None of them had been older than fourteen. None of them had come back. He knocked on the door and opened it. It was dim inside the bunker, the area lit by a single bulb fed by a generator. Enrichson looked up from his laptop as they came in. ‘What's going on out there? We're down to one satellite. The rest have just...vanished.' ‘Another ship,' Wilburg grunted. ‘Big one. Blocking out the sun.' Enrichson tapped the keyboard. ‘Shit, so they've came back,' he said. We're done for!' Richards sat down and fished in his pocket for a crumpled cigarette. He poked it into the corner of his mouth and lit it. ‘Sure we're done,' he said wearily. ‘We knew that three months into this war. But what can we do? What choice do we have? Surrender?' He threw back his head and let out a jerky, hysterical laugh that made the others look at him with concern. He knew he was out of control but didn't care; the situation was so absurd. Here they were - what was left of the resistance; the brains; the gallant strategists that were going to lead humanity to freedom. Click here to read the rest of this story (68 more lines)
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